Aerial Sibiu

In this article I will show you some photos taken from the Council Tower of Sibiu. The tower is regarded as a symbol of Sibiu, being built in 1224 for the gatherings of the city council. The bell inside it – still functioning – is the second oldest in Romania, being built by a Swiss company in 1494. The photos are arranged in a counterclockwise manner, beginning with the north view towards the Transylvanian plateau.

The view towards Sura Mica and a part of the Small Square. The town of Ocna Sibiu lies in this direction. Also, farther, the city of Alba Iulia.

The west view, with the Small Square and the Liars Bridge.

A view of the Reformed Church in Huet Place. The cities of Sebes and Deva can be reached following this direction.

Quite a similar view with a part of the Town Hall to the left.

The south view with Cindrel Mountains as the background. The biggest tower is the one of the Roman-Catholic Church. Also, partial views of the Town Hall, Brukenthal Museum, the Orthodox Cathedral and, to the left, the Ramada Hotel. The Small Square is to the right and the Big Square is to the left.

The Big Square, with the main pedestrian road arriving in the square, just above the hemisphere.

In the background is the junction between Cindrel Mountains and Fagaras Mountains – the Olt Pass or the Olt Cutting. The hemisphere in the Big Square was built apparently in the context of the Astra Film Festival.

The tower has seven floors; here is a view below.

The typical south-eastern view, with the Fagaras Mountains in the background. The highest white building in the near plan to the right is the Austrian Consulate. Behind it is the shape of the Sibiu Hospital. The highest yellow building to the left is the County Council. The modern black building in the center is the private Polisano hospital where I lectured about burnout. This particular part of the city is also home for the German Consulat.

A detailed view of the Fagaras Mountains. The town of Fagaras lies in this direction.

The north-east view towards Sura Mare. The church with a green tower to the left is the Ursuline Church, and to its left, in the distance, is the main railway station. The towns of Medias and Sighisoara can be reached following this direction, and also, following the mountain range, one can reach the city of Brasov.

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S’Assumer

A long time ago I went to France for the first time. I was happy to have that new experience and I tried to make the most of it. However, I had to leave sooner than expected. There, in Alsace, there was a Romanian lady, older than me, who was there for many years. A doctor like many other doctors, she acted as a kind of gravity center for wisdom in the Romanian community there. She spoke perfectly in French, with an impeccable accent, and was genuinely in love with the French culture. When I first arrived there, she made one of her missions to help me understand my new life; on the other hand, I was too young and too inexperienced to notice the subtlety of her lessons. However, I do recall most of her advice quite well, up to this very day.

The day when I told her that I decided to leave France, we were in the hospital’s restaurant. She stopped a moment and looked at me straight in the eye. Then, I remember, she asked me one question:

Connais-tu la définition de l’orgueil, César?

She asked me if I knew the definition of pride. That took me by surprise, as at that time I didn’t have a good definition. I remember I said something like… pride is when you’re… proud, self-important… kind of… She paused for a moment and then she said something completely unexpected:

L’orgueil c’est quand quelqu’un n’accepte pas ses limites.

So, pride means not to accept one’s limits… I thought it’s quite an unexpected definition and, at that moment, I understood it partially. Of course, when you see yourself as someone important, you perceive your domain of power wider than in reality… a different way to say that you have a superiority complex or some sort of God-complex. We call it in psychology the entitlement lifetrap. But at that time I didn’t feel like a God, but rather like someone trying to find his way in a foreign country and then going back home. I never saw myself as someone limitless, or excessively arrogant, but it turned out in time that what she saw in me at that moment was right. I was pushing my limits too much; I was trying to change the world.

After she said that, I pondered a couple of moments on the fact that she was actually blaming me on being too proud, in an indirect fashion. I didn’t agree on her vision but I didn’t fight back either because I had great respect for her. However, I asked her what one should do if plagued with pride. Her answer still obsesses me today, as I can still hear her voice in my head:

Il faut s’assumer!

In English, “assumer” is translated by “assume”, so the simple translation would be “one must assume oneself”. However, the right translation is “one must come to terms with oneself and the rest of the world”. It is the difficulty of the concept that made me write this article both in French and English.

We often hear or read: “One must assume his words” or “You must assume yourself”. This means “live by your words or according to your words”, “keep your promises”, “pull yourself together”. “You must assume the fact that…” is also translated by “you must accept the fact that…”, “to assume” and “to accept” being synonyms. That’s English. However, in French it’s differently, there are some nuances, and I’ll take the definitions from the dictionary.

Accepter c’est agréer ce qui est offert.

Acceptance means to agree on what we’ve been given or to welcome everything life throws at us, good or bad, without judging and without rejecting anything. That is… going with the flow. Also, another meaning of acceptance is to approve something as being just (Accepter c’est approuver une chose, la considérer comme juste). As you can see, acceptance is about something from the outside that comes into our life and we do not elicit any substantial reaction. By contrast, to assume means to deal with an initial reaction of anger, to come to terms with something that we didn’t initially accept. The process of assuming is much lengthier and much more difficult, as it involves inner negotiation, sometimes struggle to know one’s limits, and then behavioral changes. Assume has four definitions.

Assumer c’est prendre pour soi un acte ou une réalité qui vient de soi et qui est difficile à accepter.

So, to assume means to become aware of an inner reality that is difficult to accept. Most of us see ourselves as smart and beautiful, but in reality we might not be so. When we come into contact with the proof, we find it hard to accept we’re less than what we thought we were, so we struggle with mixed feelings. This first meaning of assume highlights the inner fight we have with us when we become aware that we’re, say, stupid in one way or another. About 80% of the population has something called the defectiveness lifetrap (that’s Schema Therapy language, for those who know it), and this means that, deep inside, we have that irrational feeling that we’re not good, we’re somehow flawed, but we can’t really bring arguments for that. This usually generates insecurities, then fears, then defensive mechanisms to cover fear, then dysfunctional thinking/emotions/behavior. The other 20% of the population, although defectiveness-free, do encounter moments when nasty stuff about themselves is brought to their conscious minds. So, it is safe to say that assuming one’s stupidity – real or not – is a fundamental experience and nobody escapes it. The good news is that, through assuming, both the real flaws and the unreal (imaginary) flaws are taken under control, the inner fight is brought to an end, and life continues is a wiser way.

Assumer c’est prendre en charge une responsabilité, une tâche, un état qui, normalement, revient à un autre.

This definition is not so interesting from a psychological viewpoint. To assume is to take responsibility for somebody else, do a job or some duty for someone, although that other person should have done it. The underlying mechanisms for this definition are love (I do your job because I love you and I want to help you) or sacrifice (I do this because I need something else from you, I have an interest).

Assumer c’est accepter pleinement de vivre avec une réalité qui nous touche plus ou moins durement mais dont on n’est pas responsable.

Here comes the third definition and the one I find tougher to deal with: to assume means also to fully accept to live a reality that hits us more or less painfully, a reality we are not responsible for, yet a reality which has been imposed on us without our consent. Life is not fair. Life is often absurd, has no meaning. Shit happens. We didn’t ask for it, nor we remember to have ever signed for something like this, yet we must face it, and more, we must face all this distress in complete peace, acceptance, even serenity.

Initially, I left France because I was forced to do it. Details don’t matter. But what that lady saw in me was something deeper. She saw that our condition of Romanians – second hand citizens of Europe – was also important (identity issues). She saw that I wasn’t mentally prepared to live there but I was unwilling to accept and assume that. She saw some emotional issues which also prevented me from fully jump in this journey abroad, issues that were invisible for me at that time. Finally, she saw that I was pushing myself too much against things I wasn’t aware of and I couldn’t control. And she found the explanation in my unconscious limitless pride. In fact, the 4th definition of assuming says it all, the verb being put in its pronominal form:

S’assumer c’est accepter sa condition.

To assume oneself means to accept one’s human condition. In my particular situation, I went abroad without knowing anyone, having emotional issues and huge difficulties to socialize; I tried the impossible, I didn’t accept my limits, and I failed. The solution, the cure, would have been not only to ACCEPT THAT I AM HUMAN, but also to ASSUME MY HUMAN CONDITION. Being completely unaware of my strengths and weaknesses, I failed big time. That lady told me the truth, but I wasn’t ready to hear it. Afterwards, nobody told me this again, as we’re living in a culture where success matters more than anything else and a real speech about acceptance and assuming stuff is simply unthinkable.

Living life in an assumed manner is rare. Few people can actually do it completely. We assume some stuff but we fail to assume other things because either we’re not aware of them, or we’re not ready to accept our limitations. Acceptance always comes before assuming; referring to the third definition, one must accept the fact that we do not control our life before assuming the fact that shit happens and we must live with that. Also, a lot of people live the phantasm that they are creating their lives, which is not true, as we do not own our lives, we didn’t give birth to ourselves, we didn’t agree to come to this life (others have decided for us), and therefore we co-create our lives, at best. A lot of experiments have been performed aiming at deciding whether we have free will or not, but they are presently inconclusive. Anyhow, we definitely do not have full power over our lives, so acceptance and then assuming our existence still remain important aspects.

To assume” and “to accept” are frequently used words in Existentialism, a rather atheistic current of thought. For those who believe in God, the answers are easy, and they come in the form of “it is God’s wish”, without any additional questions. For those who are mainly emotional in structure, it is also rather simple, as faith, hope or optimism do make life better and any hardships are easily overcome. For the thinking structures however, accepting the rules of the game and assuming one’s condition in life is an efficient way to surmount the anxieties and the sadness of our existence.

SecretDiets

It’s been some time since the last guest writer came to my blog with an article… Today I revive the tradition, allowing a good friend to benefit from the space of this blog and my audience. My friend wanted to hide behind a pseudonym, so I’ll respect that. The article being shared below is quite out of the box – Edible Flowers – and I like that. You can continue to follow SecretDiets on WordPress – https://secretdiets.wordpress.com – but also on Facebook and Twitter. As usual, this blogpost will be permanently available in the “guest writing” section of my Writing page. Enjoy!

 

Edible Flowers
(c) Copyright – secretdiets.wordpress.com

The flowers have been used in the kitchen since ancient times: rose petals were popular in Asia, especially India, violets in the Roman times. Edible flowers were very appreciated in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign. Their tradition comes as far as nowadays, when chefs use them to add colour, flavor and perfume to their dishes. A very important thing to remember is that not every flower is edible!

Flowers are a natural vegetal source of food, because they contain valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes) for our health. Here are some of the most popular edible flowers.

1. Rose (Rosa centifolia): is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), bioflavonoids, antioxidants. Rose petals are used in desserts, jams, tea. All roses are edible, darker varieties having a more pronounced flavor.

2. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): is rich in vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn), phosphorus (P), silicon (Si), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), flavonoids, glucosides, phytosterols, fatty acids. The chamomile flowers contain an essential oil that has a high content of camazulene and bisabolol (natural anti-inflammatory agents). It has anti-inflammatory, relaxing, anti-allergy, local anesthetic, antiseptic, emollient and cicatrizing properties. Chamomile flowers are used in tea, salads and soups.

3. Lavander (Lavandula angustifolia): is rich in vitamin A, calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), essential oils such as linaool, geraniol, nerol, lavandulol and borneol, phytochemicals such as tannins, coumarins, pectins and resins. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system. The flowers are sweet, spicy and perfumed, being a great addition to savory and sweet dishes.

4. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis): is rich in vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, antioxidants, flavonoids, beta-carotene and minerals, especially potassium (K). The plant is entirely edible, being used in salads, pasta, rice, tea, steamed.

5. Squash (Cucurbita maxima): is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), iron (Fe), magnesium (Mg). Squash and pumpkin blossoms may be used in salads, as tempura, or stuffed with herbs, cheese, ricotta or any other stuffing that you may like.

6. Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana): is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, essential oils, salicylic compounds and tannins. It boosts the immunity system. The flowers are used in fruit salads, desserts and are highly decorative.

7. Marigold (Calendula officinalis): is rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids, essential oils, resins. It is very well known for its cicatrizing properties, speeding up the healing and regeneration of tissues. The flowers are used in salads, soups, rice, with fish or in drinks.

8. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus): is rich in vitamin C, lycopene, lutein, glucosides, erucic acid. It is considered to be a natural antibiotic. Due to the lutein content it is also an important eye health protector. It is used in salads, juices, stuffed, for garnishing or as pickled buds used like capers.

9. Violets (Viola odorata): are rich in rutin, resins, numerous essential oils, violamine (a natural dye), acetylsalicylic acid, natural sugars and mineral substances. Due to the acetylsalicylic acid content, these flowers are known to have active antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Violets are used in salads, jellies, tea, candied, to garnish desserts and drinks.

10. Lilac (Syringa vulgaris): is rich in starch, resins, tannins, glucosides, natural sugars (sucrose), invertine and syringing. It is also called “the flower of memory”; people say that when it is smelled, its fragrance brings back lost memories that can be remembered in the smallest details. The flowers are used in salads, summer punch, sweet drinks, tea, desserts, yogurt, for garnishing.

Other edible flowers are: Allium (all blossoms from the Allium family: leeks, chives, garlic, garlic chives are edible), Angelica, Agastache (Anise or licorice mint), Acacia flowers, Apple blossom, Arugula, Basil, Bachelor’s button, wild Bergamot (Bee balm), Begonia, Borage, Citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat), Chervil, Cherry blossom, Chicory, Chrysanthemum, Cilantro, Clover, Cornflower, day Lilies, Dianthus (Carnations) , Dill, English Daisy, Fennel, Fuchsia, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Honeysuckle, Gladiolus, Impatiens, Jasmine, Johnny-Jump-Up, Lemon Bergamot, Mint, Pea, Perennial Phlox, Peony, Primrose, Oregano, Queen Anne’s Lace (the wild carrot), Radish, Rosemary, Safflower, Scarlet Runner Bean, Sage, Sorrel, Snapdragon Flower, Sunflower, Tulip, Lemon Verbena, Yucca.

Tips for selecting and preparing edible flowers

– learn which flowers are edible and which flowers are poisonous;
– identify exactly the flower and eat only the edible parts of it;
– do not eat flowers on which pesticides were used or flowers from the flower shop;
– never harvest flowers growing by the roadside or from public gardens;
– never eat the flowers unless you know their source;
– do not eat the flowers if you suffer from asthma or some kind of allergy;
– always remove the stamens and pistil of the flowers; eat just the petals;
– remember to use small quantities of flowers in your recipes to avoid digestive complications;
– remember that most flowers have a taste that is similar to a leaf, but a bit spicier;
– pregnant women should avoid eating flowers during their pregnancy;
– ask the pediatrician before giving edible flowers to your child;
– if you don’t eat the flowers immediately after harvesting them, then keep them in the freezer in a paper towel.